I enjoyed this book so much that I immediately read another by the same author.
So there are actually two reviews in this post.
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction
I have to thank fellow author and blogger Alison Morton for alerting me to Jenny Harper’s books in the first place. Alison did an interview with Jenny on her writing blog here. Do pop over to Alison’s blog and read the interview for yourself.
I was intrigued by what Jenny said in the interview about her use and development of characters across her novels. So intrigued, in fact, that in spite of the main characters in People We Love being rather younger than in the romantic fiction I normally read, I felt compelled to give Jenny’s novels a try.
And I’m very glad I did. People We Love is not chick-lit. Yes, it’s romantic, but the story of Lexie and Patrick is a romance rooted in realism. All the characters are fully rounded, engaging and non-stereotypical. It’s an interesting, thought-provoking and very satisfying read. The story interweaves the themes of love (in many of its forms), bereavement, artistic endeavour and loyalty. There is also an air of mystery at times.
I particularly liked the way the author began each chapter with reference to the objects i.e. shoes that Lexie is collecting for her art exhibition. It was original and well handled.
I read this book quickly because I so wanted to see how it would all turn out, but at the same time I didn’t want to end. And when it did end it stayed with me. I wanted to spend more time with the characters – especially Patrick who I think I fell in love with. Well he is handsome, wealthy and charming but also flawed and vulnerable – so no-brainer really.
Then came, for me, the bonus read in the shape of Mistakes We Make in which the author tells us the story of Molly and Adam. Molly features in People We Love. She is Lexie’s best friend. And yes Lexie and Patrick do feature in this story as well.
This idea of taking a supporting cast member from one book and giving them a starring role in another is something Jenny Harper does well. Mistakes We Make could be read as a standalone. You wouldn’t have to have read People We Love. But I guess it would probably be an even better reader experience if you did.
And again, in Mistakes We Make, as in its predecessor, there’s much more than just boy meets girl going on. Yes, the main characters are relatively young, but they’ve lived long enough to have interesting back stories. And they’re so well drawn that readers can’t help but care about them. As well as the emotional turmoil of the main plot, there’s also a satisfying subplot and a mystery to keep the reader engaged.
All in all two excellent novels.
Type of Read: An indulgent afternoon on the sofa, or early to bed for a long read – way past lights out time.
Back Cover Blurbs:
People We Love
A year after her brother’s fatal accident, Lexie’s life seems to have reached a dead end. She is back home in small-town Hailesbank with her shell-shocked parents, treading softly around their fragile emotions. As the family business drifts into decline, Lexie’s passion for painting and for her one-time mentor Patrick have been buried as deep as her unexpressed grief, until the day her lunch is interrupted by a strange visitor in a bobble hat, dressing gown and bedroom slippers, who climbs through the window. Elderly Edith’s batty appearance conceals a secret and starts Lexie on a journey that gives her an inspirational artistic idea and rekindles her appetite for life. With friends in support and ex-lover Cameron seemingly ready to settle down, do love and laughter beckon after all?
Mistakes We Make
Sometimes you have to dig deep to discover what you really need. Marketing events manager Molly Keir doesn’t realise how much she still cares for her ex until she meets him with another woman. Her answer is to seize the chance of a glittering job in London – even though this will mean leaving behind her aging father and pregnant best friend Lexie Gordon. Adam Blair is in the wrong job. Pressured by his father to join the family law firm, the stress of work helped break his marriage. Now Molly is moving to London, and he knows he needs to move on – but events soon overtake his best intentions. A year ago, Caitlyn Murray quit her well-paid job to avoid becoming a whistleblower. Now she is stuck at home with her overworked mother and four needy step-siblings. Tempted by the offer of a good wage, she returns to her old firm – where her nightmare comes back to haunt her. Molly and Adam seem to have gone too far to recover the love they once had, and when Caitlyn finds the courage to speak out, she brings all their worlds tumbling down.
Both books are published by Accent Press and are available as paperbacks and ebooks.